When a large wooden painting of Cab Calloway's face hung from the ceiling of Summerhall's dissection room came crashing down, narrowly missing the star of this unique art and music collaboration, it could have proved disastrous. Nile Rodgers, however, brushed away the incident with the same charm that has seen him through a forty-year musical adventure which began with Chic, and is currently riding high with Get Lucky, the song Rodgers wrote with Daft Punk that is currently the biggest selling record of the summer.
An Indigo Night in F is a new suite charting Harlem's rich sonic history that came out of 7x7, Belgian artist Jean Pierre Muller's installation presented at Summerhall in 2012, and which featured work by the likes of Robert Wyatt and Archie Shepp as well as Rodgers. Muller explained all this to a crowd of just 300 from a customised stage area which over the next two hours was gradually decked out with cut-out dioramas of Harlem stalwarts across the years, including the aforementioned Mr Calloway.
While Muller did live paintings on a platform above, Rodgers regaled us with yarns from his own back pages framed around the seven F's that have informed it, from family and friendship through to frustration, fate and fame. Each of these was punctuated with stripped-down bursts of Rodgers' finest riffs played on solo guitar as well as wicked impressions of a cast list that included Grace Jones and even Irvine Welsh. Though effectively a work-in-progress trailer for a much bigger multi-media project, Rodgers and Muller proved to be joyous company in one of the most life-affirming events of the year.
The Herald, June 24th 2013